The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, a project of Freedom of the Press Foundation and Committee to Protect Journalists, has published an overview of a truly remarkable year’s worth of press freedom violations during nationwide protests since the police killing of George Floyd. Building on individually reported accounts of every journalist assault, arrest, damaged equipment, or other press freedom violations, the Tracker aims to provide the definitive telling of the crackdown on journalists that emerged alongside the protests.
As reporters covered the movement, they were subjected to more than 150 arrests or detainments, 580 physical attacks, and 112 incidents of damaged equipment. The phenomenon peaked last summer and has continued into 2021, which has seen two dozen arrests or detainments, nearly three dozen physical attacks, and 9 incidents of damaged equipment.
“To say the past year was a historic chapter in the story of press freedom in the United States would be an understatement. I had to stop using the word ‘unprecedented’ even as we reported out case numbers that were unlike any we’d ever seen,” said U.S. Press Freedom Tracker’s managing editor Kirstin McCudden. “But even after following each case as it developed, pulling together a full year of data paints a picture of American press freedom that is shocking and alarming.”